A small rural Michigan village is in shock after three local teenagers kill themselves in the past eight months.
Earlier this month, Shealynn Pobuda, 14, of Kingsley, committed suicide, the Detroit Free Press reported. His death shocked the small community of 1,600 people.
“Everyone was devastated,” Kingsley-area school superintendent Keith Smith told the Washington Post. “It’s a small community, and not only do we all know each other, we all know other people’s children.”
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Pobuda’s death follows that of another 14-year-old, Kayden Stone, who committed suicide in September. DeAnte Bland, 16, died in June.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the second leading cause of death for people aged 10 to 34 in Michigan is suicide.
Smith told the Washington Post he broke down over the weekend as the crisis hit too close to his home.
“I hit my breaking point on Saturday; I sat down and cried for an hour, ”he said. “I can’t take this anymore… you’re just overwhelmed with emotions.”
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Smith said many students have come forward and asked for help or advice after Pobuda’s death. The Kingsley School District has partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to help raise awareness about suicide.
Experts have linked teen suicide to “poor access to mental health exams” and societal issues, the Detroit Free Press reported. Teenage suicides have also been linked to the opioid epidemic, the Washington Post reported.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).